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Processing Drone Data using Intrepid Geophysics Software

Drone Workflow
Fig 1. Recommended workflow for Drone capture

Design Survey, Plan and THEN gather your data

All excellent surveys start with the correct survey plan.  This is important for drone surveys since limited endurance and Line-of-Sight regulations reduce achievable line lengths. Intrepid Geophysics recommends using a systematic approach by flying tiles.  Each tile should be a complete survey on its own and must overlap neighbouring tiles.  Always ensure that your navigation accuracy is sufficient for the planned line spacing and ground clearance.  Drones are often used in ultra-high resolution surveys hence the demand on navigation accuracy is also high.

High productivity workflows for Drone Data processing, with automation including next generation Tensor tools.

Quality Outputs: We all want to produce high quality data that has consistency in itself, can be merged easily with neighbouring surveys. Intrepid© allows for automated workfows

Survey design: A systematic approach is suggested for Drone surveys.  Fly tiles, tiles that overlap! If the tile is flown correctly the data can be (pre-)processed automatically in the field using Intrepid©.

In-Field Quality Control

Once the data from a flight is downloaded from the acquisition system, import the data into Intrepid© for in-field quality control checks.  The Intrepid© batch functionality lets you easily import and pre-process the data automatically ensuring that the data from all sorties are treated consistently.  After import the data may be visualised in INTREPID©, as maps or profile plots and common quality control parameters such as the 4th difference can quickly be checked using Intrepid© database statistics.

Pre-processing your data using Intrepid© Geophysics software

Intrepid© allows for automation of workflows. This allows for improved efficiencies and repeatable science. There are three data streams in magnetic data to be pre-processed before being merged into one database; magnetic data from rover and base station and auxiliary data such as positional and system attitude records.  The latter can either be recorded by the GPS system accompanying the magnetic sensor or they must be read from the drone’s flight log.

Filters may have to be applied, either to clean the magnetic base station data or remove noise from the recorded rover data.  All data must be merged and reduced to a reasonable sampling rate.  Intrepid© provides a RARIFY filter for scalars and platform attitude data that efficiently uses the Frequency domain for low pass and decimation in one step.  Once set up, all steps can be performed automatically using the Intrepid© batch functions.

Next, split the data stream into individual flight lines.  Splitting (‘split cruise tool’) is mainly based on directional changes but does include several other controls such as the minimum number of samples to form a line.  Intrepid© will number the lines sequentially during the splitting process.  Finally, the split data can be cut to the survey boundary polygon and unwanted lines from ferry flights can be deleted in the flight path editor.

After the pre-processing is completed the data are ready for standard processing including field reductions, leveling and micro-levelling.  This can either be done for each individual tiles or for the combined datasets.

Merge your sorties into a single database

This process removes extraneous data such as turnarounds, travel to and from take-off locations and then identifies line segments of adjacent sorties to be merged into a single continuous line across the Area of Interest (AOI).

Standard Processing

Intrepid©  offers all standard processing tools required for airborne magnetic data.  First, diurnal and IGRF variations have to be removed from the production data, then you may have to apply lag and/or heading corrections which is followed by tie-line levelling and finally decorrugation/ microlevelling.  Drone based airborne magnetic data may not require all of these steps, but all tools are readily available in the Intrepid© processing package should they be required.

Finally, Intrepid© provides you with state-of-the-art gridding functionality for all scalar, vector and tensor gradient data currently produced by airborne geophysical surveys.

Enhanced Solutions & Products

After the final processing is done, Intrepid© offers a variety of tools to produce secondary products to aid interpretation.  Reduction to the pole/equator can be calculated as well as different derivative products including the Analytic Signal and Tilt derivative.  Also available are depth to basement tools such as grid-based Euler solutions and line data based ‘Phillips Depth’ and ‘Naudy Automodel’ tools.  Depth slicing of grids, e.g., signal separation from sources of different depths is implemented in the Intrepid© FFT Grid Filter tool.

Interpret your data

Use Intrepid© software to integrate your Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) data with supplementary data such as lidar, air photos, geology, and other geophysics.  Access to Intrepid© automation and additional tools allow for further insight of your data that allows for better decisions.